By Bill Hudson

COTTON, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — You don’t know true cold until you venture into northern Minnesota.

On the Iron Range, temperatures overnight Tuesday dipped to 40 below zero. That’s air temperature, not wind chill.

The National Weather Service says International Falls and Hibbing set record low temperatures. International Falls, the self-proclaimed “Nation’s Icebox” plunged to 37 below zero, breaking a record set in 1925.

Meanwhile, Hibbing bottomed out at 28 below, breaking a record set in 1974.

But nowhere was the nighttime chill more severe than in Cotton, a small town just south of the Iron Range.

“I live in Embarrass, which is usually colder than Cotton,” said Cotton Postmaster Brenda Stephens. “When I left home it was -40 on the thermometer.”

By the time she got to work, it was 41 below zero.

“I was hoping my vehicle wouldn’t start, so I could stay home, but it started,” she said.

Keeping a full gas tank is a priority in such extreme cold.

“I take every advantage I can to keep warm and keep out of trouble,” said Cotton resident John Moren.

Residents also keep an eye on tire pressures. The cold makes them deflate.

Janice Wendell, of the local fire department, worries about frostbite.

“It feels like your skin is on fire,” she said of the cold. “It hurts after a while after you’ve been out there.”

The key to keeping warm is dressing in layers…and praying for warmer weather.

Overnight Wednesday, a slight warm-up is expected. The mercury is expected to just bottom out at 20 below.

But come the weekend, more extreme cold is expected.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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